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"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born." Isaiah 66:9

Sunday, February 5, 2017

My kids hate pants

Really my son hates clothes in general and would prefer to be naked at all times. Strangely enough when he is getting dressed he's quite opinionated about what he's wearing. My daughter started that early on and sometimes we have fights about it, though usually I just let her wear whatever or convince her something might be better. With a son I wasn't prepared for such an opinion on clothes so early! This kid! He keeps me on my toes y'all!

This weekend we were struck by a stomach bug, which was super crappy because it made us miss a birthday party that we were all looking forward too. But it did allow for the kids to remain mostly in no pants for the weekend.

Sometimes you need a good no pants, or at least no dress code required weekend to just not leave the house at all. It would've been much more fun without the sickness that caused it though! Both kids seem to be on the mend and I finally ate something and didn't feel sick afterwards so here's hoping this week starts off on the right foot!

What it has given me is a great amount of time for browsing Pinterest, so meals are planned for the week as are some pretty fun movie nights for the family in the near future! Have any great movie night traditions you like??? Please share!


Deni

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Finalization Gratitude

It's really hard to put into words what our adoption finalization felt like, but Foxy seemed to nail it when he said "I feel like I just ran a marathon and I'm exhausted". We each literally felt like we lost hundreds of pounds that day (wish at least a few would've actually fallen off). We felt light, elated, and relieved!

The most magnanimous part of that day was the fact that so many people showed up to celebrate this event. These weren't a bunch of stay-at-home-mom's who could drop things and be there (I hear the collective eye roll from the SAHMs and know I'm being totally facetious). These friends and family took hours (or the day) off work, got sitters for kids, and rearranged their lives that day because they knew how important it was to us. Photos from that day will always remind me of how much love and support we have had throughout this entire process. (Thank you Leah Rea for the pictures)!! Also very special to us that day was our attorney asking our pastor to pray after the papers were signed and before we left that courtroom. I didn't cry that day, but my eyes are brimming with tears now as I remember how beautiful that was to start a fresh page in our family.

So...more than I can put into words, thank you to everyone who stood by us, tolerated me, and loved our son fiercely through this two year journey. I would not have survived without those of you who let me vent, cry, and laugh when I needed it most. Blessed seems too small of a word to cover how we feel!

THANK YOU!

I know not everyone could be there and I have zero, zero hard feelings for anyone that couldn't be there. It is highly possible I forgot to inform people and for that I apologize.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Children are Off Limits

This election cycle has been shameful in many ways. It was ugly and unkind on all fronts. No one was innocent, and I don't even care to debate who said what or anything else.

What I do want to address is the digs that have been made at children, not only in this election cycle but always. The first children always end up being targeted and I've never thought it kind, but I didn't have kids until the Obama girls were in the White House. That changes things for me, to understand what a parent would feel when their child is targeted. I didn't see a lot said about the girls, the one thing I remember was something about them twerking and accusing them of smoking weed. I can't even remember if it was both or one of them. What I do remember thinking was no one would be paying a bit of attention if they weren't the President's kids and I personally didn't share it or get involved.

I have seen way too many things said about Barron Trump and I have always believed kids should be left out! Sasha and Malia, Barron, Chelsea, none of these kids had ANY say in what their parents chose as careers, nor things that have come out of their mouths and every single one of them has said things that are shameful. That does NOT give anyone the right to free reign on innocent children.

How far have we sunk as a society when our humor is found in starting rumors about children and making fun of them for their skin, their clothing, their hair, their demeanor?!? Seriously, how many of us would handle ourselves better in the situation? I'm a Chatty Cathy when I'm uncomfortable, and I also laugh inappropriately, which I've seen none of these kids do. They've all handled this better than I would assume I could and certainly would have at their age!

I thank the Lord daily that social media didn't spike until I was out of college. Things most of us and our parents and older generations experienced in the privacy of our small circle of friends is getting blasted all over social media and we don't even see how wrong that is!

Here is the bottom line...

CHILDREN ARE OFF LIMITS!

Stop bullying, stop bullying one another, stop bullying period! We all tend to get a lot of courage behind a screen where no one can touch us or see our faces. Let's show decency even when it's not required!

And heaven help me if anyone comes after my kids...I wouldn't have the grace these parents have demonstrated!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#TBT...I feel like I have tears to cry

***Post originally written in 2014***

But none of them are falling. My heart feels both broken and alive at once. You see when you lose babies your life never feels exactly complete without them with you, for they've taken a piece of you with them, literally, your blood, your oxygen, your DNA, and it's a void. Then there's the beauty of life after that which in some cases is blessed with a child or children. There's a fullness there that could honestly make your heart burst right out of your chest, a love so deep, so wide, so strong, and so beautiful that you wonder if you ever really saw a rainbow before them. The catch twenty-two to this is it is almost as if you would never have seen that rainbow so bright without the storm that proceeded it.

In having my baby that lives with me day in and day out, I find that it makes me miss what was before, makes me wonder, makes me wax nostalgic, making my heart skip a beat at times when there is a child the same age that mine would be. Getting to see the beauty in the magnificent face I see every day makes me wish there was more. Sometimes it is about the more before her and sometimes it is about the possibility of more after her. 

So we stand here in this chasm of complete JOY, because she is JOY personified, and complete emptiness of what could be, what should be, what would have been. As we stand all we continue to hear is "wait". I have never been known for my overwhelming patience, and when all you can feel is "wait", that's hard to swallow and hold onto. That's the thing about faith though, it often says "wait" and sometimes we mistake that or ignore that and bring more grief upon ourselves than God ever intended or than we were ever meant to bear. 

That being being said, I sit tonight and I "wait" and in the same stillness, the same holding pattern, I live my life without abandon in regards to the love I lavish on my child and my heart feels amazingly full. How strange a thing to feel empty and full simultaneously. How hard it is for a mother's love to be split between the seen and the unseen. How strange a world we live in where some people know exactly how this feels and some might think me mad. 

Makes me want to write a country song, or maybe that was the binge watching of Nashville that I just finished! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Feelings on Adoption and Anxiety

Perhaps this should be written at a later date, but I think I will capitalize on the fact that it’s still so fresh.  I think that adoption is beautiful; I believe it to be an amazing gift to both the child and the families involved.   

Many people enter into it without being fully aware of all of the ramifications, believing that it will be magical.  Years ago I became friends with Rachael through this very blog and I remember telling her that adoption was not for the faint of heart, she’s reminded me of that a few times considering she’s done it 3 times now (seriously amazing), and the process has been rough on her each time!  Why some people have an easy perfect process and why some are a muttle of clustered dog poop is beyond me, but that’s the facts y’all!  The adoption process can be so hard and so ugly.

My son is the most magical little boy on the planet, don’t ask me just ask his MDO teachers, he is seriously amazing and worth every tear, every night of lost sleep, every ounce of anxiety.  The problem is the laws governing adoption and the crap that is allowed that doesn’t focus on the well being of the child.  I’m not in support the old school practice of taking a baby before the mother has ever seen it and treating her like a pariah, but the converse is what we are finding in modern adoption at times.  Adoptive families are looked upon like predators who want to steal babies from poor sad mothers who are struggling.  Neither is the case and neither is right!  (Yes, I am aware that some mothers have actually had children stolen from them and placed for adoption for monetary gain, that is a crime I can’t speak about without seeing red).

I have a friend who has two adopted daughters and has a relationship with both birth mothers that are different but good.  I have another friend who just had her son’s second birthday and his birth mother was at his party.  Theirs is a relationship for the books seriously, she should be writing about the beauty there.  They have a very special relationship with their second son's family also, fully of love and humor, and the kind of support you would not believe. 

There are others whose stories have played out like made for TV dramas for the adoptive parents.  I won’t go into massive detail about our adoption simply because that is my son’s story, and its his to tell in his own time if he chooses.  What I will say is that our legal system failed him, they failed him for 2 years and that started with our original attorney who matched us (for which I will be forever grateful), but his handling of the entire “case” was done poorly and sent us down a road that I do not believe ever should have happened.  We have witnessed miracle after miracle in our case, which I will share over time!  What is truly wrong is that the system is so concerned with reunification even when it is literally not a possibility leaving children in limbo, or returns them to horrific environments that they beg not to go back to.  This is not hypothetical, an acquaintance of mine told me her story of fostering and how no one involved in their case ever once put the children’s well being or best interest first.  They returned them to a home that the children begged not to go back to, where the caseworkers had seen the situations and literally lied under oath.  Personally, I walked into the DCFS office to find the worker half asleep and about as empathetic as a statue.  She failed in her job, literally snapped at me repeatedly, and never once offered any kind of sympathy.  My opinion happens to be if your job entitles handling the welfare of children you should possess at least an ounce of compassion.  

My child wasn’t taken from his mother without her knowledge or consent, but we were treated as if such had happened.  Truth is we had never met her.  She never requested it, so neither did we. It may be that she requested it and we weren’t informed, that’s actually possible considering the circumstances prior to his birth, but I digress.  The fact is that we brought him home from the hospital and raised him exactly how we raised our daughter from day 1, and despite what the laws specifically state we were forced to jump through hoops for two years and thirteen days to be exact. 

What adoption has taught me this time around (search blog for adoption scam to see previous attempt) is how bad true anxiety really is.  I’m not one to smirk at mental health issues I know they’re real.  I can tell you the gamut of feelings of infertility treatment, but I did not realize previously that a lot of my responses were due to anxiety.  I did not understand it or how bad anxiety could truly be day in and day out.  I am going to try and sum up how I felt as it built for two solid years, though it is hard to encompass all of it.

Anxiety starts very slow, it is a minor gnawing that makes you perhaps a little cranky, but you think nothing of it because perhaps its your time of the month or someone in your home irritated the snot out of you.  Then it grows and it’s a constant state of worry, worrying over tiny aspects of things you could never control or predict.  Once it has grown full blown, it can make you never want to leave your house because you are concerned about any myriad of things.  It steals your sleep, your concentration, and your joy (if you let it, and at times I have).  The thing is though, it is under the surface, gnawing beneath your skin and making you crawl on the inside, but on the outside you look like a normal happy human.  Those closest to you will see the difference and they’ll ask you about it and if you know you can trust them, you will share the dark recesses of your mind and they won’t judge you, they will listen with only compassion.  If it’s someone you don’t trust you’ll talk about how you haven’t slept because A, B, and C (all things that anyone would experience), but you will be lying through your teeth.  Energy will be something of the past and you will stop the things you once loved, like running, or working out, or cooking most days.  You will try to sleep anytime you possibly can because you might not sleep tonight.  You’ll find yourself grasping at words that you can see but not say and then you’ll freak out because you’re a speech pathologist and what if you’re having a stroke??  Weight gain will creep on you because of the previously noted lack of energy, which only makes you feel worse and look duller or what some say looks ‘sad’.  When it’s an adoption these things will possibly happen to your husband in tandem, and that will be brutal on your marriage, but it will also be something that binds you together because they are the only human who remotely can sympathize with how you feel.  Anxiety expresses itself in a myriad of ways, depression, anger, lethargy, excessive poorly dispersed energy (that accomplishes very little), and crying to name a few.

I could probably go on and on and I will likely post more about that one day, but plain and simple…. Anxiety is a witch with a capital B!

My experience with the adoption process (note process not adoption as a whole) was brutal, beautiful, unkind, miraculous, hard fought, and not completely uncommon.  I know plenty of people who have had wonderful experiences, more than not, so don’t let this dissuade you, but also know that the ones who have bad experiences rarely talk about it, because like infertility that’s something to ‘keep in your private group or something’.



Monday, January 9, 2017

Oceans

Many of you probably know the song Oceans by Hillsong, if you don't here's a link.

God communicates with me through music. It is how I worship most fully and feel the most connected to him. Foxy feels it in nature, I feel it in music. Many times on Sunday mornings I'll have tears streaming down my face because I feel Him so strongly in those moments.

When we were approached about adopting #BIT we had been quite burned by adoption and were not in the process at the time. In fact, we were planning on doing another IVF cycle within the next 6 months. This kinda struck us even though we had passed on an adoption a few months before. That time had a PTSD moment and basically cried like a wild animal that I couldn't do that again. Obviously the difference with B was that God ordained his adoption long before we imagined it. Where does music come into this? No, I'm not just rambling!

In certain seasons of my life I feel like God gives me "anthems" if you will. Songs to cling to for a time, songs that hold my heart when I cannot hold it myself. The Sunday after we were told about B "Oceans" was done during worship. I had heard the song before but that morning tears just flowed like a waterfall, I could not contain them. And I KNEW, I just knew that this little boy was meant to be ours. Little did I know this anthem would hold my heart for over two years and keep my feet on the ground and hold me upright more times than I could count.

One of the blessings of this rough time period was that I got to see Hillsong in concert with some dear girlfriends who were walking my journey alongside me. In beginning moments of that song I was not sure I would be able to stand up, my anxiety and grief at the way this process had been dragging was so profound that I felt like I might drown in an ocean of despair. Again and again God used this song with these lyrics to speak so many things to my soul.

What I love immensely about God is that He can handle all of us. Praise Him for that, because there were times I was pathetic, angry, unreasonable, and hateful. I felt utmost gratitude that it was not directed at Him as it had been after my miscarriages, but I knew even if it was He could handle it because he had held me through that before.

Tonight my sweet boy was needing lots of extra snuggles, which I gladly obliged, and he spouted off his usual song requests...Twinkle, Sunshine, Sunshine again and again. I asked him if he wanted to hear Oceans and he said "yeah Oceans". So I sang it and then he asked for it again and again and I held him so tight thinking of the journey we had traveled to be right where we are now, where my precious little boy could request the song that carried us through this trying time. I cried and tears ran down my face and onto his sweet head and I wondered if he would ever know just how much I loved him and how deep that love runs?

Through the past two years I struggled to keep my eyes on God. He was aware and He continually put people in my path to encourage me and that list is so long! I am beyond grateful! He also called me to do something I said I would never do, which was get a tattoo, or maybe He meant something else...only time will tell. I prayed over the idea for well over a year and one day saw a tattoo idea that I fell in love with because it said simply...Spirit Lead Me. Now it sits permanently on my wrist as a daily reminder to follow Him and not my wild thoughts. One day I'll tell B the story and hopefully he will follow God in all that he does. That is my biggest prayer, that my children love God above all else and love others as themselves.

Deni

Friday, January 6, 2017

Simple Pleasures

I'm sure what you consider simple pleasures changes with each stage of your life, but for now this is what life is all about...

On Fridays we get ICEEs after school.  If you're not from the south or have not clue what I'm talking about think slurpee but 100 million times better! We happily refer to it as ICEE Friday and the kids look forward to it, however, today it read 32* when I picked #SugarC up from school and I wasn't feeling very ICEE Friday.  Luckily, she's easily swayed to hot chocolate and we got to head home and enjoy that with one of my besties and her crew.  There's really nothing better than playing makeup (the grown ups) while you listen to kids squeal together in the other room!  My friend came bearing a take and bake pizza for which I was very grateful and we devoured for dinner.  Pizza is #Foxy's favorite and work was a doozie today, so he appreciated pizza and beer on standby at his arrival!

#SugarC and #BIT and I watched "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (holla to my long time love, Johnny Depp), ate pizza, and snuggled on the couch.  Life is fleeting and you never know when life will change dramatically, so I am soaking up these moments like the bread soaked up my Shrimp Lafayette sauce at dinner last night at #ForbingIceHouse, which exceeded my expectations on every level...totally check it out if you're local or visiting!

After the kids went to bed #Foxy and I got some time to actually visit and share our days, take the lights off the Christmas tree (yes it was still up, today is Epiphany that's when ours comes down), and just breathe, which doesn't happen every night.

We thought the kids were long asleep when we hear the girl "Mooommmm"!  She asks for water and as I leave the room she said "mommy I love you pigtail", and that is how I know she's my daughter.  I'm telling this to Foxy as I'm walking back to her room with water.  When I go into her room she asks if she can take off her shirt to sleep, no she doesn't want a nightgown.  I inform her this isn't a nudist colony, much to her brother's chagrin, and that it's in the 20s outside she needs to sleep in clothes.  She giggles and pulls the covers down and says "I don't have on any pants"!  AND that is how I know she's her daddy's daughter! These kids crack me up and wear me out and make the days so full!

A dear friend of mine lost her 2 month old baby yesterday, please lift their family in prayer and hug the ones you love a little tighter and appreciate even the moments when your two year old throws his fork (PTL it was plastic) at your face because you never know what tomorrow may bring.